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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2013, 03:26 AM
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I was able to pick up this 24" float at a very good price, so that's what I'll be using to smooth out the concrete.

All the Bull floats were just ridiculously priced for an amateur as myself, and this one feels nice in the hand

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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2013, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Gee, John, I thought we were friends. Now, I've got my new foundation just waiting for a good slab. It's only 28' x 32'. That's not too much to ask is it? Oh, and it's only 400 to 500 miles from you.

Of course, I'm not even sure that I want to do a slab floor at this point, but I thought it'd be fun to try making you feel guilty for not wanting to help...........

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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2013, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by Okami View Post

I was able to pick up this 24" float at a very good price, so that's what I'll be using to smooth out the concrete.

All the Bull floats were just ridiculously priced for an amateur as myself, and this one feels nice in the hand


Sorry, Okamisan, that is not a float. It is a finishing trowel.

This is a hand float:



And this is a bull float:



Floats are commonly made of wood, but they also come in magnesium. There are rubber floats, but they're used for special purposes, such as roughing the concrete surface to a texture like stucco.

When pouring concrete, floats are used after screeding and tamping and before troweling. The purpose is to "float" the aggregate below the surface and and smooth out any bumps or low spots. A bull float covers a large area and does a better job of flattening than a hand float. As I said before, you may be able to do without a bull float on a smaller slab, but you will not get a good job if you skip floating altogether.


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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2013, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Okamisan, the first photo below shows several important steps to pouring a slab. The guys in the back are pouring the concrete mix into the slab. It's likely that they poured most of it directly into the forms from the chute on the truck. When direct access is not available, alternatives are to use the chute to pour into a concrete pump and run a hose to the forms, or the less desirable use of wheel barrows to haul it in. Much more work (and much less expensive) is to mix your own concrete in a small mixer, hopefully near where you are pouring.

Next you see the long 2X4 being used to screed the concrete. Sliding it back and forth while moving it across the surface fills in any gaps and scrapes any excess off the surface.

Next is a guy tamping the concrete. This pushes the aggregate below the surface and works out any air pockets that may be in the slab. This step can be skipped if the pouring and screeding is done very carefully, and bull floating is done well.

Lastly, you see a guy bull floating with what looks like a magnesium float. This is usually done several times as the concrete sets up. This will float the aggregate down and the water to the surface, creating a very creamy surface that will be easier to trowel later. The next step should be, as the concrete hardens get out on it with hand floats, using two pieces of plywood to kneel on, moving one in front of the other across the slab. Failure to continuously work the surface as the water moves up and evaporates will allow surface cracks to develop.

Finishing trowels are used very late in the process, and if you haven't done everything right along the way, using them will likely be a very frustrating experience.

Sometimes trowelling is skipped altogether and a broom is simply run across the surface, either to save time or because the concrete is setting up too fast. City sidewalks are usually finished this way to keep labor costs down. It may save time but I've never cared for the way it looks.

As you can see in the second photo, a broom is apparently what these guys used. and it looks like they made their own tool for the job. You see the finish it leaves. That's not for me.





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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 09-01-2013, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

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Originally Posted by TahoeTwoBears View Post

Of course, I'm not even sure that I want to do a slab floor at this point, but I thought it'd be fun to try making you feel guilty for not wanting to help...........
No need for guilt, Mike. As it happens, we may be able to help each other, I'm in the process of replacing every square foot of concrete around my house, including the driveway.

It all started a few weeks ago when I brought in a company to check out my area drains. I thought some roots had got in somewhere and they'd just locate the problem and dig up a small area to fix it. It turns out that the builder used a cheap polypropylene drain pipe that not only let roots in everywhere, it was also so weak it collapsed everywhere else.

The drain company worked their way around my house looking for a spot where the pipes weren't blocked, and they never found one. It all has to be replaced along with the concrete that covers it. Here in California, you cannot live in the hills without an extensive underground drain system, or you're going to have flooding and/or mud slides.

Mike, if you come down to help me, I figure we can mix the concrete by hand and still get it all poured and finished in just a few months.

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Old 09-01-2013, 10:50 PM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Perfect, but I think we'll have to do mine first before the weather turns. Once it's done of course we'll have to jump on the framing to get it enclosed before winter. Then ......
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 09-02-2013, 04:04 AM
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I'm so glad the garage I'm building will sit on a slab of 100-year-old concrete. All I have to do is drill some 1/2" anchor bolt holes every 2'.
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 09-02-2013, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by joraft View Post
Okamisan, the first photo below shows several important steps to pouring a slab. The guys in the back are pouring the concrete mix into the slab. It's likely that they poured most of it directly into the forms from the chute on the truck. When direct access is not available, alternatives are to use the chute to pour into a concrete pump and run a hose to the forms, or the less desirable use of wheel barrows to haul it in. Much more work (and much less expensive) is to mix your own concrete in a small mixer, hopefully near where you are pouring.

Next you see the long 2X4 being used to screed the concrete. Sliding it back and forth while moving it across the surface fills in any gaps and scrapes any excess off the surface.

Next is a guy tamping the concrete. This pushes the aggregate below the surface and works out any air pockets that may be in the slab. This step can be skipped if the pouring and screeding is done very carefully, and bull floating is done well.

Lastly, you see a guy bull floating with what looks like a magnesium float. This is usually done several times as the concrete sets up. This will float the aggregate down and the water to the surface, creating a very creamy surface that will be easier to trowel later. The next step should be, as the concrete hardens get out on it with hand floats, using two pieces of plywood to kneel on, moving one in front of the other across the slab. Failure to continuously work the surface as the water moves up and evaporates will allow surface cracks to develop.

Finishing trowels are used very late in the process, and if you haven't done everything right along the way, using them will likely be a very frustrating experience.

Sometimes trowelling is skipped altogether and a broom is simply run across the surface, either to save time or because the concrete is setting up too fast. City sidewalks are usually finished this way to keep labor costs down. It may save time but I've never cared for the way it looks.

As you can see in the second photo, a broom is apparently what these guys used. and it looks like they made their own tool for the job. You see the finish it leaves. That's not for me.





.
Thanks, John!
You've been tremendously helpful in educating me
That picture alone is worth a thousand words.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 09-02-2013, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderwino View Post
I'm so glad the garage I'm building will sit on a slab of 100-year-old concrete. All I have to do is drill some 1/2" anchor bolt holes every 2'.
So you're building a new shop as well!?
I seem to recall you were fixing up a shop a few years back, that you'd purchased?

Edit... Ah, I realised you wrote garage and not shop
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 09-02-2013, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: Tools for concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by joraft View Post
[...]

Sometimes trowelling is skipped altogether and a broom is simply run across the surface, either to save time or because the concrete is setting up too fast. City sidewalks are usually finished this way to keep labor costs down. It may save time but I've never cared for the way it looks.

As you can see in the second photo, a broom is apparently what these guys used. and it looks like they made their own tool for the job. You see the finish it leaves. That's not for me.
Nice post, John. I'm accustom to using this broom finish for outdoor walkways. Leaves a more non-slip surface. But then, it rains here -- or, at least it used to -- and smooth concrete can be slippery when wet. Wouldn't really want it indoors in the shop, though, as the swept texture is more difficult to sweep later when you're sweeping up sawdust.
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